Real Madrid extended their unbeaten streak this season to 15 games across all competitions with a 3-0 LaLiga victory against Elche, despite seeing three goals disallowed by VAR.
Federico Valverde opened the scoring with a fine strike from outside the box, his sixth goal of the season, with Karim Benzema and Marco Asensio sealing the result in the second half.
The Frenchman’s goal came after he had seen three attempts disallowed by VAR for offside, which could have been decisive had Carlos Clerc headed home a glorious opportunity for an equaliser.
Andriy Lunin’s save kept him at bay, however, with Benzema’s goal then ensuring there would be no comeback and Asensio adding further gloss to the scoreline late on.
A frantic start saw Benzema tap home after six minutes, though the effort was disallowed for offside, but Valverde’s strike just five minutes later did count, smashing home from outside the box after Vinicius Junior’s shot was deflected into his path.
Three minutes before the half hour mark, Benzema was again frustrated by VAR after a second goal for the freshly crowned Ballon d’Or winner was chalked off, leaving Elche still in the game at the interval.
Benzema’s frustrations would continue in the second period, the Frenchman seeing a goal disallowed for the third time by VAR for offside in the build-up on the hour mark.
Clerc should have made Madrid regret those spurned opportunities heading into the final 20 minutes but his header from close range was kept out by Lunin, who until that point had little to do throughout.
Any hope of a late comeback for the hosts was quelled when Benzema finally got his goal, playing a neat one-two with Rodrygo and slotting home, with Asensio then delicately cushioning a volley over Edgar Badia to extend the advantage.
What does it mean? Madrid march on
Madrid’s unbeaten sequence, which began in the UEFA Super Cup against Eintracht Frankfurt, now stands at 15 games following the win against Elche, shows Ancelotti’s side – who are six points clear of Barcelona at the top of LaLiga having played a game more – continue to be Europe’s cream of the crop.
Only Osasuna and Shakhtar Donetsk have managed to avoid defeat against Los Blancos this season, while no side has managed to keep their devastating attack at bay – Shakhtar coming closest in the Champions League before Antonio Rudiger’s 95th-minute equaliser.
While Elche are not the biggest test Madrid will face this season, the streak of results serves as a warning to the rest of LaLiga, and their European rivals, that Ancelotti’s men mean business once again.
Valverde has been one of the standout players for Madrid this season, with his goal against Elche being his sixth in 15 appearances for Ancelotti’s side across all competitions.
That represents a significant improvement in the final third, as it equals the tally of goals he had scored in his first 148 appearances for Los Blancos.
Two assists for Rodrygo against Elche takes the Brazilian’s tally of goal contributions for the season in LaLiga to eight in eight matches (four goals, four assists), with the 21-year-old another to enjoy a fine start to the campaign.
That bodes well for Brazil ahead of the World Cup in Qatar, where Rodrygo could come of age in the tournament if he maintains the form he has shown at club level.
Madrid host Sevilla on Saturday in LaLiga, while Elche’s quest for their first win in the league this season takes them to Espanyol.